When called upon to institute major organizational transitions, business leaders need help navigating the process of implementing cultural change. Consequently, they call upon people from a wide array of disciplines (change management, project management, organizational design, IT, HR, leadership development, strategic planning, business relationship management, etc.) to fulfill this need. I refer to the professionals who provide this guidance as “change practitioners,” regardless of what discipline they represent or whether they operate as internal employees or external consultants.
Edgar Schein: Insights from the Fifth Edition of Organizational Culture and Leadership
Edgar Schein and the subject of organizational culture are forever linked due to his pioneering efforts in the field. His hallmark book, Organizational Culture and Leadership1, has been a resource for more than 30 years. Ed shared insights from an upcoming fifth edition (now released) of this important book during an interview at the Human Synergistics Ultimate Culture Conference.
Last month I had the privilege of attending the 2nd Annual Ultimate Culture Conference in San Francisco, hosted by Human Synergistics. One of many reasons for me to take the 12-hour flight from Switzerland was to be in the company of thought leaders in workplace culture, such as Dr. Edgar Schein. Among the many insights he shared, one in particular struck a chord with me: the different methods of surveying for culture data. Dr. Schein described two-dimensional (2D), 3D and 4D views one can take when trying to understand a company’s culture. My experience is similar, and it prompted me to draw out the following analogy.
In an uncertain economy, and in VUCA times, empathy may seem like a “nice-to-have” leadership skill or culture asset. Instead, I propose that it is empathy that often serves as a catalyst for a Constructive culture.1
A Constructive culture, as defined by Human Synergistics (HS), is characterized by strong norms for four behavioral styles—Achievement, Self-Actualizing, Humanistic-Encouraging, and Affiliative (see profile).
Seasoned leaders know that the road to a successful change management process is not always a smooth one. Strategy, structure, tech, resources, and capacity all may be in place and positioned for an effective effort. However, what are often missed are factors that can be crucial to success and that can blindside the unwary leader. In two words: Culture and Conflict.